Bowing Out: Trials and Tribulations

Hello everyone! Craig here.

I address you today with sad news. At the beginning of the year, I gave myself an artwork challenge. One stipple portrait per month (Year-long Challenge – 2017). In that, I failed miserably. I completed three and a quarter portraits. Then things got busy. We had our summer cruise, which was fantastic. Then we came home and went right into our back-to-back weekends at art fairs. The fall and winter have been no less hectic.


I’m not making excuses as to why the artwork wasn’t done, I’m just pointing out how much stuff there is complicating my life. I’ve had to make hard choices about what’s important, and what I need to spend my time on. The conclusion I’ve come to is that I need to step away from the art fair side of things. I will not be continuing to post on this MAS Artwork blog or going to the art fairs (unless it’s to help out and support my wife Alyx while she does it).

Important! Alyx WILL continue to write this blog and do art fairs. The focus will be solely on her photography.

Although I will not be actively posting or marketing, I will nevertheless keep hosting my online presence, and prints will still available at my website for anyone who would still like to purchase my artwork.

Thank you for all your support, and I hope I will get my life in order enough to return. I’ll see you all then. Feel free to stay in touch.

Craig P. Smith


Alameda Art & Wine Faire Wrap Up

Well, last month was our second art fair of the year . . . The Alameda Art & Wine Faire on Park Street.

With temperatures in the low 70s all weekend, we couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather.  And that wonderful, sunny weather encouraged thousands of visitors to walk the festival.  We had tons of new people in our booth, admiring this photo or that image, and Craig was even approached by a couple of people about possible commissions (which he does . . . check out his portraits site here).

We also got to meet some other nearby vendors to get their take on things, and pick up any tips we could about how to improve our festival experience (remember, we ARE still relatively new to this).  One fellow vendor even offered suggestions of some other venues we might check out for next year.

We even had a great lesson in not assuming who will or won’t buy our art.

A younger gentleman walked into our booth toward the end of the day on Sunday.  He was admiring some of the stipple art that Craig had up, and mentioned that he, too, was an artist.  His specialty wasn’t stippling, but he admired Craig’s patience, and they got to talking more about art styles.

As I said, this gentleman looked to be young–maybe even college age–and so we assumed he didn’t have a ton of money to spend on art.  So we just sat and enjoyed our conversation with him, and answered his questions about certain pieces as he rooted through our print bins.

But he actually found one that he couldn’t part with and wound up purchasing it!  YAY!

We also did another contest giveaway for a free print.  People who came into our booth were encouraged to sign up for our newsletter, and doing so would enter them into the contest to win one of our images (valued at $65).  Many of them did, and our latest winner is Simon Boyd!

Santorini SunriseThe print he chose was Santorini Sunrise . . . the same one chosen by our previous winner.  Hmmm . . . maybe we need to bring that one to the art fairs next year.  :o)





But Craig and I got to thinking that we’d like to expand the contest next year.  So what we’re going to do is include all of you, our blog and newsletter readers, in future contests.  Some action will be needed on your part, but it’s simple.  Just comment on our blog to let us know which image(s) you’d like to own and your name will be included in our next drawing (don’t worry, we’ll remind you of the “rules” when we let you know about the next art fair).

Anyway, we had a great time at the Downtown Alameda Art & Wine Faire this year, and we can’t wait to see what art fairs we’ll be doing next year.

Thanks for reading!

What Next

As Craig wrote in his blog post this month, we had a nice response to our first art fair.  The question now is . . . what to do next?

As you probably know, there are thousands of art fairs and festivals that happen throughout the calendar year, but we’ve already ruled out several of them because we still don’t want to venture too far away from home just yet.  It’s costly enough to work an art fair without adding in travel or shipping costs.

But still, even after deciding to focus on fairs no more than 50 miles from home, there are quite a bit to choose from.  So we have to do some more research, figure out which ones would fit into our schedule, and then send out applications and cross our fingers that we’ll get accepted.

Another thing we’re going to start looking into is the wholesale market.  It seems to me that we both have several images (some not even on our site yet) that would be perfect for products you could find in stores (whether it’s prints at IKEA, jigsaw puzzles, or even pillowcases).  We just need to figure out how to break into that market.

We’ve been studying some articles on this very subject, and will be looking for seminars or conferences that we can attend that would give us some insights as well.  If you know of any, please feel free to mention them in the comments!

But first and foremost, the thing we need to get back into is editing the pictures we’ve already got.  There are a couple of trips from this year (and even last year) whose photos we’ve barely looked through, let alone edit and add to the website.  So that has to be priority number one.  Because–regardless of how many art fairs we work, or how many wholesalers we sign on with–none of it will last very long if we don’t continue to add images/products to our line and cull what might not work anymore.

So . . . sorry to cut this short, but I’ve got to go edit some images.  ;o)


Alameda Park Street Art & Wine Festival

It’s almost here!  It’s almost here!  Our first art show!

As I mentioned back in May, we were thrilled to be accepted into an art fair.  This was my dream from the day we started M.A.S. Artwork nearly two years ago.  We read some books and articles on how to go about it, and got lots of tips on what to do and what to avoid doing.

So we’ve been spending the last couple months getting things ready: Trying to figure out which images to make available at the fair (much of the advice said to NOT bring every piece we have); What sizes to make those prints; And various other decisions that come when preparing for an art fair.  The fact that this will be our first probably means that those decisions get easier as we go along, but we’ve put a lot of time and effort into it this time.

However, we tried not to stress too much, because one of the reference materials we read said that we need to accept that we’ll make mistakes this first time out.  It’s part of learning . . . you make mistakes.  So, we’ve done as much planning as possible, and will hope that the mistakes we’ll make won’t be huge ones.

Since we’re in the final days of preparing, I’m going to leave this blog short and simply invite you to come see our booth (if you’re in the SF area).  You can see which pieces we chose to print out and can meet us, too.

Just click on the image below for more information about the festival.

ParkStreetWe hope to see you there!